Women business owners of all sizes and sectors from across the nation found and strengthened their bi-partisan #NAWBOVoice during Virtual Advocacy Days as they heard from and engaged with the legislators representing them on Capitol Hill.
This year’s event—built on NAWBO’s decades-strong advocacy roots—featured the Small Business Administration’s 27th Administrator Isabella Guzman, who grew up in a small business family and has been an entrepreneur herself. She has spent her entire career advising entrepreneurs launching businesses, helping small businesses navigate government and creating policies and programs to help advance entrepreneurship and innovation.
“It is certainly true that women mean business,” Administrator Guzman said. “The women at NAWBO in particular are incredibly effective when it comes to advocating for women entrepreneurs. I look forward to partnering with you all at NAWBO to ensure that impact keeps growing as we work together to help more women entrepreneurs find their American dream.”
Administrator Guzman spoke about her priority at the SBA: To transform their portfolio and how they deliver services to ensure equity and reach the changing face of entrepreneurship. She also recognized that historically, women have faced barriers to the things they need to start, grow and sustain their small businesses, including capital and technical assistance, and that these barriers were only heightened by the pandemic.
Six freshmen women leaders from both sides of the aisle in the 117th Congress also joined in the Advocacy Days conversation. These Congresswomen shared their top goals and priorities for their first term in the House of Representatives and how those have shifted since taking office. They also spoke about how businesses owned by women, and especially women of color, are experiencing a slower recovery from the pandemic and how Congress is addressing this gap to ensure the recovery is equitable.
Other 2021 event highlights included the latest NAWBO/Gusto survey results; a Facebook session on using digital tools to grow; a joint briefing with the House and Senate Committees on Small Business and Entrepreneurship; and a Kauffman Foundation presentation on addressing the unique barriers to entrepreneurship that women and women of color face (learn about this session in this issue of NAWBO ONE). Attendees wrapped up the week by participating in pre-arranged meetings between them and their legislators.